Merith Cosden named Acting Dean, Mary Betsy Brenner named Senior Associate Dean

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Merith Cosden and Betsy Brenner

Professor Merith Cosden, Acting Dean, and Professor Mary Betsy Brenner, Senior Associate Dean

 Professor Merith Cosden has been appointed Acting Dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara. Joining her in leadership of the school will be Professor Mary Betsy Brenner as Senior Associate Dean. Cosden and Brenner will succeed Professor Jane Close Conoley, who has served as the Dean of the Gevirtz School since 2006, and will become the next president of California State University, Long Beach on July 15, 2014.

“We appreciate the dedication of Professors Cosden and Brenner to our campus, and their willingness to help ensure a smooth transition for our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang said in a statement. “The search for our next Dean of GGSE is well underway, and I am grateful to the members of our search advisory committee for devoting their valuable time and wisdom to help our campus through this process.”

Professor Cosden, former Chair of the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology in the Gevirtz School, joined the faculty in 1988. She is a recipient of the UCSB Graduate Mentor award for her work with doctoral students. She is also a licensed psychologist and a recipient of the Legacy Award from the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association, in recognition of her contributions to training psychologists and working with community-based agencies over the last 30 years.

About the appointment Cosden says, “I am really honored to serve as Acting Dean this coming year, and look forward to it being a productive year for our faculty, staff, and students.” 

Her research covers several areas, including child abuse prevention and treatment and the use of trauma-informed, substance abuse treatment for clients with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Professor Brenner, Chair of the Department of Education, joined the faculty in 1991 after teaching at UC Berkeley. Over the past two decades, she has been examining how to more effectively teach mathematics to diverse groups of learners. She also has been working with after-school programs to better understand how different learning environments can enhance student learning. Professor Brenner also continues her research of the education system in Liberia, where she supports an elementary school that began during the civil war. She was named a 2012 Unsung Heroine by the UCSB Professional Women’s Association. 

Professors Cosden and Brenner will share the major responsibilities of the Dean’s office through joint decision-making and a division of oversight of specific committees and activities in the GGSE.

The Gevirtz School also extends its heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Dean Conoley as she moves on to be President of Cal State University, Long Beach.

[Merith Cosden and Mary Betsy Brenner are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]